Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Galaxy Raiders

In all the dimensions of sci-fi, there's maybe nothing as much fun as the good old fashioned pulpy space opera of the '40s and '50s. The lurid colors of the ragged covers drawing you in to a universe where babes hit the space ways in their swimsuits and beach towel clasped around their neck (Douglas Adams had it right about not hitchhiking around the cosmos without your towel in hand). The smell of the pulp and the purple of the prose is enough to transport your molecules into the far reaches of the imagination.

Oh, the future was never as good as it was back then.

Robert Gibson Jones — Amazing Adventures — February 1950

A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says],
is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough."

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Eric said...

Douglas Adams is one of the very few creators who I have sadly "finished" off. There's nothing more I know of by him for me to enjoy for the first time, ever again. And I didn't realize I had hit that point until after I was done, unlike the few others where I know that point will come.

There's a reason I haven't read a couple of the Heinlein Juveniles yet: I don't want to be done.

Amazing may not have had the best stories very often, but the covers were often a thing of beauty, weren't they?

joe bloke said...

I'm holding out for jet packs, man!

Douglas Adams used to live 'round the corner from me, back when I was a whole lot younger. He was a really nice bloke, funny funny guy, bought me a pint, once.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Eric, I know exactly what you speak of. Finishing off, and not having more new from the geniuses that have left our world.

Oy, it's a good thing there are so many geniuses in our world.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Joe, how very cool.